Residents in Kaohsiung’s Dalinpu Village (大林蒲) have a higher risk of contracting cancer due to their exposure to carcinogenic pollutants, a survey by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) showed yesterday.
The EPA released the report at a meeting with Dalinpu residents and environmental groups at Fenglin Junior High School in the city’s Siaogang District (小港).
The village is surrounded by more than 800 industrial exhaust stacks owned by China Steel Corp, Taiwan Power Co and CPC Corp, Taiwan, as well as other firms.
Photo courtesy of Kaohsiung Urban Development Bureau
After taking samples of air, water, soil, fishery products and vegetables, and testing emissions at plants, the EPA found that 70-year-old residents, for example, have a cancer risk 1.5 to 5.5 times higher than the “acceptable” risk range of 10-6 to 10-4 suggested by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The six most harmful pollutants in the village are benzene, butadiene, vinyl chloride monomer, ethylene dichloride, acrylonitrile and acrolein, followed by other heavy metals, the agency said.
The pollutants are mainly emitted by industrial sources, especially petrochemical plants, while vehicles, such as ships, also caused pollution, the report showed.
Residents have a greater chance of developing cancers related to the respiratory system, liver and kidneys, as well as leukemia, it showed.
The survey was conducted from September 2017 to June last year, after then-EPA minister Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) promised residents that the risk air pollution posed to their health would be evaluated, EPA Environmental Analysis Laboratory director Yen Chun-lan (顏春蘭) said.
The agency commissioned the National Health Research Institutes to analyze the data collected, she said, adding that it completed the task at the end of last year.
Residents at yesterday’s meeting were concerned about what action the government would take after releasing the report, Yen said.
The government should conduct long-term surveys about all pollution sources in and outside the village and tighten regulations to cut the emissions of hazardous air pollutants, the institutes wrote in the report.
Then-premier Lin Chuan (林全) and then-Kaohsiung mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) in November 2016 apologized for the residents’ suffering due to decades of heavy pollution, but little progress has been made to relocate them.
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) met with Dalinpu residents on Tuesday.
He said that 14 percent of the residents still have problems with their relocation, but the city government is in communication with them.
Additional reporting by Hung Chen-hung
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